by Chuck Surprise (with a big assist from Scott Kelly, EDP, US Lynx) for WhatTheyThink.com and PrintOnDemand.com - A Peek at the Xplor Organization - Documenting the Future…of Documents - EDSf Educational Awards - Joint Technology Council – Partners’ Executive Forum October 29, 2002 -- The mood Sunday at the opening day of the Xplor Conference and Exposition was definitely upbeat, as Xplor members and the working press heard some very positive numbers from Chairman of the Board James Shand, EDP. Over 1,500 members will be on hand for the educational sessions that begin on Monday. And an additional 5,000 registrants are expected to visit the Expo, October 28-30. Xplor membership, worldwide, is now at 5,000, from 2,500 companies (many very BIG), in 35 countries. Xplor is all about education, and with 280 speakers and 117 official sessions on tap, the organization’s 17th Global Conference upholds that tradition. But the good news wasn’t achieved without hard work, as Shand noted. The revamped organization went through some serious streamlining, becoming even more member focused and putting in place a new general manager, Bill McCalpin, EDP. Documenting the Future…or Just What Constitutes a Document Today? Due to the illness of the announced session leader, Carl Frappaolo of The Delphi Group, James Shand led a panel of knowledgeable volunteers through a discussion on the future of the "document" and what form it will take in the future. Panel members included Dave Evans, EDP; Pat McGrew, EDP; Stephen Poe; Homi Shamir, Scitex Digital Printing and Paul Durel. Questions posed by Shand included: "What is the 3-5 year prognosis for color printed documents?" Answers ranged from "more color documents than ever," to "paper will be with us forever," to "how else will we communicate but paper for invoices and other transactional information." "What is a document? Is it paper, or electronic media?" The question prompted a number of answers, but no real consensus on the definition of a document. In general, the group agreed that the answer "depends." It depends upon the nature the document and the transaction, the goal of the designer and the preferences of the customers. Many people still prefer to receive a piece of paper documenting a transaction, while a growing number accept electronic delivery. The waters are muddied by the desire of businesses to use transactional documents to deliver personalized messages to their customer base. Perhaps, until a strong economic incentive appears (extra charges for paper), acceptance of electronic documents will lag our ability to deliver them. "Watch your children, and see what they prefer," was a sound piece of advice. The younger people among us seem much more inclined to use PDAs, SMS, and other digital assistant devices which many of their elders judge to be less useful. The legality of electronic delivery also came under discussion. It was pointed out that email has been much in the news as legal documentation of illegal activity by Enron and other corporate economic evildoers. It seems that computer forensics is becoming a much-used specialty in both civil and criminal cases. The recent Westerfield trial in San Diego, for example, admitted as evidence data recovered from the defendant’s computer hard drive. Another point of agreement was the need the people responsible for corporate communications to be agnostic in their selection of delivery media. With the politics of media preference removed from the selection process, companies could base decisions on the most effective media and design for a given message. The growing influence and affordability of personalized color transactional documents also impacts those decisions. Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSf) Awards Brian Baxendale, Chairman of Pitney-Bowes and director of EDSf, led off the major awards program for excellence in educating the future leaders of the printing (content delivery) industry. Thanking the many financial supporters of the EDSf college-level programs, Baxendale mentioned Andy Plata of OutputLinks.com, and David Salazar of Axis for their contributions. The Foundation is building an endowment fund to perpetuate its programs. Awards went to: EDSf Educator of the Year Dr. Benjamin Lee Professor and Coordinator Graphic Communications/Print Management California State University, Los Angeles. EDSf Excellence in Education Award Recipients: Innovation in Higher Education Graphic Communication Program California Polytechnic State University Dr. Harvey R. Levenson Professor and Department Head Innovation in Continuing Education Master of Language Administration Program Copenhagen Business School Dr. Sabine Kirchmeier-Anderson Associate Professor and Department Head Innovation in Distance Education and Training SCOPE Georgia Southern University Dr. Jim Holmes, Professor and Program Coordinator Ms. Toni Deal, Continuing Education Program Specialist Innovation in Professional Growth Postgraduate Programme in Digital Colour Imaging London College of Printing John Stephens, Dean Phil Green, Course Director Innovation in Secondary/Post Secondary Education Orleans/Niagara BOCES Digital Design Media Program Linda Laney, Offset Lithography Instructor Joint Technology Council (JTC) Presentations Xplor members, through the Joint Technology Council, have worked closely as advisors to a number of developers and manufacturers over the years. Input through focus group-type formats has led to some significant improvements and enhancements for those manufacturers’ products. The annual JTC presentations by those developers deals primarily with their latest releases and announcements. Forum presenters were: Mark Weber, Heidelberg Digital/NexPress; Anshoo Gupta, Xerox Corporation; Tom Long, Oce Corporation; David Dobson, IBM Printing Systems; Chuck Myers, Technology Strategist, Adobe Systems; Nachum (Homi) Shamir, Scitex Digital Printing; Bill McGlynn, Hewelett-Packard, and Alfons Buts, Nipson Digital Printing, B.V. The presenters’ companies are exhibitors at Xplor and are showing their newest technology in the exhibit hall.